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Access to Tobacco Among California High School Students: The Role of Family Members, Peers, and Retail Venues



The purpose of the study was to determine from whom and where adolescents obtained tobacco, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and hookah.


California adolescents (N = 772; 63.19% female; mean age = 16.13 years, SD = 1.61; 26.44% white, 22.12% Asian/Pacific Islander, 36.65% Hispanic, and 14.79% other) were surveyed about their access to different tobacco products.


Adolescents were significantly more likely to obtain tobacco from friends (54.9%) than family members or direct purchasing (p < .001). Smoke shops were the most common purchase location across products (44.3%), with adolescents significantly more likely to purchase hookah and e-cigarettes from smoke shops than gas stations, liquor stores, or drug stores (p < .02).


The effective characterization of tobacco access patterns is critical to the development of comprehensive tobacco control. By demonstrating peers and smoke shops as the primary social and retail outlets, this study identifies targets for the optimization of regulation and messaging aimed at reducing adolescents' access to tobacco.

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